January 06, 2020: Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed has launched Ethiopia Electronic Single Window Project (eSW). The platform connects 16 regulatory agencies which will enhance efficiency in the trade logistics landscape of the country by speeding the customs process for importers and exporters.

The move follows after the government signed three agreements in November 2019 with Alibaba Group to join the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), an Alibaba-led initiative that aims to lower barriers to global trade for small and medium-sized enterprises through e-commerce.

The eSW will reduce the 44 days hectic long paperwork process for importers and exporters to 13 days and eventually to 3 days.

“We launched the Ethiopia Electronic Single Window Service – a key technology that will enhance cost-effectiveness and efficiency in the trade logistics landscape of Ethiopia,” Ahmed tweeted, after attending the launching at the Office of the Prime Minister.

The study to launch the electronic platform has been conducted for the past five years, according to Adanech Abebe, minister of revenue, who indicated that the technology will play key role in facilitating and speeding the process for importers and exporters.

She noted that the new electronic platform will also make the customs procedure easy predictable and reachable. It is stated that in addition to cutting the paper works, the new e-service will spare the traders from wasting their time and days running from one office to another. It is stated that gradually the number of companies using the system will be increasing. South Korean companies have taken part in the development and deployment of the new electronic customs procedures processing platform.

At the initial stage, 16 trading companies both private and state-owned will be using the new electronic customs procedures processing platform. Building data centre and preparation of the procedures and regulations that govern the system are underway, according to Adanech.

It is recalled that with the aim of facilitating the customs procedures deploying new technologies, the government has recently announced liberalization of logistics-related businesses to foreign companies and investors. The government of Ethiopia has also invited foreign companies to buy a share in the state monopoly, Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise. The move of the government is expected to improve the ease of doing business ranking of Ethiopia, which now ranks 159 out of 190 countries on the World Bank Index.

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